Hall of Fame Review: The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson (5/5)

Monday 16 June 2014
At her beloved husband's funeral, Carla Pride discovers that Martin never divorced his first wife and has been living a double life with her. And his other wife, Julie Pride, is determined to take everything from Carla - her home, her money, and her memories.

When Will Linton's business goes bust he at least thinks that with the support of his trophy wife Nicole he will rise to the top again. But Nicole isn't going to stick around with 'a loser' and Will finds himself at rock bottom.Molly Jones is being bullied into going into a retirement home by her 'concerned' daughter-in-law Sherry and son Gram. Then the love of Molly's life walks in through her door - a man who broke Molly's heart into little pieces many years ago. But he says he is dying and wants to spend the time he has left with her.

All people in need of a little love and compassion which they find by chance in the stationery and teashop on the corner run by the ever-cheerful Leni, a woman that site developer Shaun McCarthy finds annoying beyond annoying for her ability to remain unrealistically upbeat about everything. 

But is the world of Leni Merryman as full of rainbows and sparkles as everyone thinks? Or is her smile papering over many cracks in her heart that will soon be shattered unwittingly by her new friends?

Wow. That's the only word I can think to use to start this review. I started this book a bit apprehensively, would I enjoy it? It seemed like it might contain too many characters and I wondered if I would struggle with it. However fellow bloggers love Milly's books so I started it. Later that same night I had read 200 pages. A few hours ago I picked up my Kindle and have just finished the book at 1am. At the time of writing I've read 70 books this year and this is one of the best I've read. I am speechless and hoping I can put my thoughts into words that show how fantastic this book is. The story has left such an impression and affected me so much. I experienced so many emotions reading it, happiness, sadness, anger and I laughed. It's just the perfect book for escaping into this Summer!

The cast of characters here are just brilliant. Carla is at her husband's funeral when she finds out he isn't her husband at all as he never divorced his previous wife (that Carla had no knowledge of). Will Linton is on the verge of bankruptcy and his spoilt cow of a wife leaves him. Molly is under pressure from her vile daughter-in-law to move into a nursing home. These three characters each visit a small teashop run by Leni who has secrets of her own. Over time they start to become friends and we follow them as they attempt to move on with their lives.

I just loved this little Teashop. It just sounded perfect, but not too perfect that you couldn't imagine it existing. The one thing I'd say about this book is that the characters and the story lines all feel very, very real. In fact some of the stories felt so real that they just broke my heart. Molly's story in particular. I was seething at how she was being treated by her son and daughter-in-law who were both scum of the Earth characters. As the book progresses and we learn more about Molly I was rendered speechless. Molly is just a wonderful character. The joy she found at the Teashop and the friends she made left me feeling really happy for her, it was almost as if I knew her. The thought of any of my family treating my Nan how Molly was treated makes me feel sick.

One thing I would say is that certain parts of the book didn't surprise me as it felt to me fairly obvious where the story was going. That said though it was very enjoyable reading the book and waiting for the characters to get to that point. The story with Leni in particular I worked out but it still left me shocked. Carla was a favourite character of mine, I was really rooting for her to move on with her life. I also liked Will (with the Danny Dyer accent..). One thing I would've liked is more scenes with his bitch of a wife getting her comeuppance. I usually like the bitchy characters but Nicole was just vile.

For me though one of my favourite characters was Ryan who is from a broken home and is basically living in poverty. He seems like the last person you'd expect to see working in the Teashop. But work there he does and he forms a close bond with Leni which was really heartwarming. I just loved their story and the journey they both went on over the course of the book alongside Shaun who plays a huge role in their part of the book's story. The reason why he got the job in the first place was also really touching, it's for something most of us take for granted and don't consider the value of.

The book is around 500 pages long and usually it might feel like a chore to read a book that long. Well for me it wasn't long enough. The book ended and I was left wanting more. I wasn't ready to leave these characters behind and I imagine they will remain in my mind for a long time. Milly hasn't just written a book, she has written a truly remarkable, heartwarming (and heartbreaking!) and life affirming story which has left me reevaluating my own life. Some of these characters don't get the chance to change their lives, and it's left me realising that it's about time I stopped wallowing and did something about changing mine. Alongside the sad parts there are some really touching and wonderful parts in this book. It's a book you can't really talk about without giving away the plot but if you only take one thing from this jumble of words make it this: read this book and love this book. It is one of those special books that only come along a few times a year, and when they do they deserve to be read, loved and talked about. I only wish mine was a beautiful paperback not an ebook! Definitely going to be getting some of Milly's previous books as soon as funds allow!

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1 comment:

  1. I really like Milly Johnson but this sounds really really good. Great review, can't wait to read it!

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net


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